Category Archives: The Front Office

Game 119. Yanks lose 4th straight, 5-3.

This was a killer. The Yanks’ offense didn’t do much, but they still had a 2-1 lead entering the bottom of the 8th down in Baltimore. Dellin Betances was on the mound, and he’s been great all year.

But it was Betances’ third inning of work, a move that may have deeper complications, such as lost confidence in Warren or Whitley, both of whom have been struggling mightily lately, overwork of some members of the bullpen (especially because, with the lack of offense, there have been so many close games) or desperation.

Betances gave up a game-tying HR, then Shawn Kelley blew the game by giving up a 3-run HR in the same inning as the Yanks lost 5-3.

Forget the division. The loss puts the Yanks 8 behind Baltimore with 43 games to go. Only a drastic change and torrid hot streak by the Yanks and collapse by Baltimore will enable the Yanks to catch the Orioles. It looks like Baltimore will be the AL East champs. Getting tougher for the Yankees is trying to gain that second wild-card spot. At 61-58, the Yanks are 3 1/2 behind co-leaders Detroit and Seattle for that final playoff spot. Toronto is just ahead of the Yanks, 3 back. So the Yanks need to get hot and do some leap-frogging.

Francisco Cervelli gave the Yanks a 2-0 lead with his 2nd HR of the season in the third inning.

Michael Pineda, making his first appearance in almost four months after the pine-tar incident and injury, pitched very well, giving up just one run in the fifth inning. 5 IP, 1 R, 2 H, 0 walks and 4 K. In his five starts this year, his ERA is 1.82, but his record remains at 2-2, a sign of the Yanks’ lack of support. It also shows Pineda’s talent if he is ever healthy and his head is screwed on straight (no pine-tar stupidity).L

In the bottom of the 8th, Jonathan Schoop proved to be a Yankee-killer again. His 11th HR of the season tied the game. It’s his 4th against the Yankees this year, one against Betances, and two against Tanaka. Go figure.

The Yanks got a run in the top of the 9th on an RBI groundout and got the tying run to the plate, but to no avail.

Betances 2 1/3, 1 R, 2 H, 0 walks and 4 K. 1.52.

Later in that same inning Shawn Kelley gave up a three-run HR to Adam Jones. That was the game.

Kelley (L, 2-4, 4.74) 2/3 IP, 3 R, 2 H, 1 walk, 0 K.

To make room for Pineda, the Yanks let Chris LeRoux go. You could see that coming when LeRoux was brought up a couple of days ago and Bryan Mitchell was sent down.

Brian McCann should be back on Saturday. Hiroki Kuroda will pitch Sunday.

The Yanks are off today (Thursday).

Earlier in the day, Hal Steinbrenner commented on the disappointing offense (after all, he shelled out big bucks to bring in Ellsbury, McCann and Beltran) and refused to comment on GM Brian Cashman, who is a free agent after the season. Personally, I don’t blame Cashman. He brought in players with track records. Although Ellsbury has done OK (and truthfully, he shouldn’t be batting third, but…) McCann and Beltran have been disappointing and others who are gone didn’t play to former potential (Soriano, Roberts). Hal also said he expects A-Rod to rejoin the Yanks in 2015. That is something I’m not looking forward to. Alex’ talents have gone down in the last few years, he will be 40 in July 2015 and after a year off, who knows what he’ll have left. Not to mention the circus and baggage there will be…

Game 112. Yanks edged in 12, 4-3.

For the 16th game in a row, the margin of victory in a Yankees’ game was only one or two runs.

The Yanks lost to Detroit, 4-3, in 12 innings.

Today the Yanks face their third CYA winner in a row when they face Justin Verlander. Fox Sports states on Twitter that the Yanks did the same thing in June of 2001 when the Braves came to the Stadium and tossed Glavine, Smoltz and Maddux at the Yanks.

The Yanks got off to a 3-1 lead in this one, but couldn’t hold it. They couldn’t score after the fifth.

Detroit got a run in the first off Hiroki Kuroda but the Yanks tied it in the second on a Brian McCann HR (12) off of David Price.

The Yanks got a run in the third on doubles by Ryan and Ellsbury, and another in the fifth on a HR by Martin Prado, his first as a Yankee and seventh overall.

Kuroda gave up a HR in the sixth to make it 3-2, then a trio of Tiger singles in the seventh tied the game.

Kuroda 7 IP, 3 R, 6 H, 0 walks and 5 K. 3.97.
Betances 1 1/3, 0 R, 0 H, 0 walks and 2 K. 1.46. One HBP of Torii Hunter took Hunter out of the game.
Betances now has 100 K in 67 2/3.

Kelley 2/3 IP, 0 R, 0 H, 0 walks, 0 K. 3.22
Huff 2/3 IP, 0 R, 0 H, 0 walks, 0 K. Overall ERA 3.89.
Rogers 1 IP, 0 R, 1 H, 0 walks, 2 K. Overall ERA 5.84.
Hill 1 batter, HBP. 0 IP, 0 R, 0 hits, 0 walks, 0 K. First MLB batter this year. ERA infinity.

Matt Daley (0-1, 5.02) 1 1/3, 1 R, 1 H, 0 walks, 1 K. 5.02. He gave up a HR to Alex Avila in the top of the 12th that won the game for the Tigers.

Derek Jeter got one hit to put him at 3428, two behind Honus Wagner for sixth all-time.

Just wondering…. in the bottom of the 9th, Carlos Beltran led the inning off with a single. McCann came up. The shift was on. A bunt down the third base line was an easy hit. McCann McCan’t bunt. Didn’t try to. He did try to go the other way and flied to left. Two strikeouts followed. I’m just wondering if Cervelli should have gone up there at that time (after all, Price was still pitching, a lefty) and if Cervelli should have tried the bunt to move Beltran over. In the end, it didn’t matter because the next two hitters struck out anyway.

Did you see the beard on Joba now that he is a Tiger? Looks more like a lions’ mane.

Tanaka threw again yesterday. More pitches from flat ground. 50 at 60 feet. Said he felt fine. Hopefully the rehab continues to go well.

Earlier in the day, the Nationals claimed Matt Thornton off waivers from the Yanks. The Yanks called up Rich Hill. Daley was the callup when Phelps was DL’d for 15 days with elbow inflammation. The guys to really watch are Tyler Webb, who was just promoted recently to AAA and Jacob Lindgren, who was just promoted to AA.

Webb, 24, is 1-6, 3.45 in three levels (A+, AA and AAA) and who has 11 saves and 81 K in 57 1/3 IP.

Lindgren, 21, was the Yanks’ first pick (2nd round) in this year’s draft. He’s pitched in just 13 1/3 minor league innings since then but has already been fast-tracked to AA. Of his 40 outs, 30 are by strikeout. He’s given up 2 runs, just one earned, for an ERA of 0.68.

The loss puts the Yanks at 58-54, six behind Baltimore in the AL East. 3rd place. They remain one behind Toronto for the final wild card spot. Toronto has the final wild card spot, KC is 1/2 game back, the Yanks and Seattle each one back.

The minors.

I was underwhelmed and not thrilled with the Yanks’ moves at the trade deadline yesterday. You can read my previous post for my opinion(s).

One thing I didn’t mention in that post is that there is a 27-year-old Cuban defector, Rusneys Castillo, who each team is looking at. The speedy OF is a righty-hitter who has good opposite-field power. The Yanks sent four scouts to look at him and many other teams are after him too. Estimates say it’ll take $30-$45 million to sign him. Jay-Z is his agent, which may or may not be a good thing (think Cano). So we’ll see if the Yanks are in play for him. Despite the Prado acquisition, getting someone in their prime like Castillo would be a plus.

AAA: Scott Sizemore was released. SWB won 8-4. Bruce Billings 1 R in 6 IP. Pirela and Refsnyder at it again (I wanted both called up. Instead the Yanks went out and got Drew and Prado). LF Pirela (.313) 3 hits, single, double, triple. Refsnyder, who now will concentrate solely on 2B, 2 hits, 2 RBI (.301 at AAA after .342 at AA). 2 hits, solo HR for C John Ryan Murphy.

AA: 2-1 win for Trenton. 6 2/3 shutout innings, with 8 K for hitting coach Kevin Long’s son Jaron (4-0, 2.73 at AA). RF Jake Cave 2 hits, 2B Casey Stevenson 2 h, rbi.

High A: 3B Eric Jagiello 2 h, rbi as Tampa lost 7-3.

Low A: Charleston lost 1-0, getting (and giving up) just three hits. DH Tyler Wade 2 hits. Chaz Hebert the tough-luck loser, 7 IP, 1 R (unearned), 2 H.

Trade deadline. Yanks get Drew, Prado.

The trade deadline has come and gone and some blockbusters were made.

As far as the Yanks are concerned, I am underwhelmed.

Let’s go one step at a time.

The Yanks DFA’d Brian Roberts. They traded Kelly Johnson to Boston for Stephen Drew. While I advocated dumping Roberts and Johnson, I wanted to stay in house and promote youngsters Jose Pirela and Rob Refsnyder from AAA.

Refsnyder will stay at AAA, to work solely at second base. It appears that the Yanks won’t bring him up this year but are grooming him to be the 2B in 2015. Ok. I’ll accept that, but I wish he would get his feet wet in the majors NOW.

As for Drew. Sigh. He is 31 and a lefty hitter. That is good. He has played nothing but SS his whole career. He is a free agent after the season so this may be an “audition” for the SS job next year once Jeter retires. BUT… the Yanks got Drew to play 2B. Hmmmmmmmmmmm….. he has NEVER played 2B EVER. After NOT accepting a qualifying offer from Boston, he wasn’t signed in the free agent market and missed half of the season. When he came back, he came back rusty. What is he doing this year? Try .176-4-11 in 39 games. OPS+ 63. That is awful. Maybe the Yanks feel he will heat up now that the rust is supposedly off. But I’m shaking my head. His stats this year are WORSE than Roberts. Refsnyder, or Pirela for that matter, should they bring either one up, should be able to post better stats than that. Refsnyder & Pirela have 2B experience. Drew has NONE. This baffles me.

Drew has a 162 g. average of .261-16-71, OPS+ 97. Average. A tick below. With the time off, he has been awful this season. In the last 163 games he has played (2013 Boston and so far this year Boston), he has hit .236-17-78. Nice pop, bad batting average. OPS+ average (101) but 163 strikeouts. I don’t get it. I’d rather give Pirela & Refsnyder the playing time.

The next move? Trading AA power hitter Pete O’Brien to AZ for Martin Prado. O’Brien has great power, low-average hitter who has many holes in his swing and no position. C? 1B? OF? Prado is a nice player, but the Yanks plan to play him in RF. An All-Star in 2010 for the Braves (.307-15-66) when he finished in the top 10 for MVP voting, Prado is versatile, but has played at mostly 3B/LF/2B in his career. He has even played 56 games at 1B and 16 at SS. But the Yanks are planning to play him in RF, where he has played just two innings in his entire career. I just don’t get it.

Prado, unlike Drew, does NOT become a free agent after the season, so depending on what holes the Yanks fill in the offseason, could play at various positions in 2015 for the Yankees. 2B if Refsnyder isn’t ready. 3B if Headley (another free agent) bolts after 2015 and A-Rod proves in 2015 he can’t play 3B but must DH only.

Prado, 30, did finish 20th in MVP voting in 2012 and his 162 g. average is .290-12-70. I wanted the Yanks to get a righty hitting OF with pop. Instead they got someone who mostly is a 2B/3B who has played a little OF who doesn’t have that much pop. OPS+ 107 for his career isn’t bad, but ….

This year Prado was at .270-5-42. OPS+ 91. A tick below average.

But where is the power to come from? I am surprised that the Phils got rid of NO ONE at the trade deadline. NOBODY. 14 below .500, and some high-name (but pricy) players. But they couldn’t dump Howard, Utley, Rollins, Ruiz, Burnett, Lee (more on that in a bit), Hamels, Byrd, Papelbon… NONE on anyone? Really?

Lee left the game tonight in the third inning, complaining about his elbow. It may be a good thing no one went for him. A great thing, actually. He may be done for the year.

But no one else goes? Really? Amaro is proving to me that Gillick was the real power when the Phils had a nice run there. Last place, 14 below, and you couldn’t get one contender to take ANY of those players?

The Yanks released Scott Sizemore from AAA.

In another move, the Yanks picked up a pitcher, Esmil Rogers, off waivers from the Blue Jays. He’ll be 29 soon and is 16-21, 5.59 in his MLB career. ERA+ 78. Underwhelming. 0-0, 6.97 in 16 games of relief for Toronto this year.

I hate to be a downer. But these moves underwhelm me. I was hoping for an impact bat. Willingham. Byrd maybe.

I don’t see it. I don’t get it.

What may the Yanks lineup be now?

Gardner LF
Jeter SS
Ellsbury CF (and I still don’t regard him as a #3 hitter)
Teixeira 1B
Beltran DH
McCann C (and 4-5-6 here are still all below .240; they NEED to pick it up)
Headley 3B
Prado RF (where he has played two innings his whole MLB career)
Drew 2B (where he has NEVER played)

I hope I am wrong but I have GREAT reservations about this.

In other big deals, the Red Sox sent Lester and Gomes to the A’s for Cespedes. The A’s sent Millone to the Twins.

The Cards, a day after getting Masterson from Cleveland, got Lackey from Boston for Kelly and Craig. Boston sent Andrew Miller to Baltimore.

In a 3-way deal, the Rays sent Price to Detroit, Detroit sent Austin Jackson to Seattle, and the Rays wound up with Nick Franklin and Drew Smyly.

Hmmm…. playoff series vs. Detroit and you face Verlander, Price and Scherzer….

I hope I am wrong about today for the Yanks. But I am very underwhelmed.

Game 107. Yanks lose 3-2.

The Yanks are off today, but we’ll see if there is any action as the trade deadline nears. Today at 4 p.m. is the deadline.

IMHO, they really could use a bat. A righty-hitting OF with some pop, who would mostly play RF, to me, is a must.

Last night (Wed.), the Yanks lost to Texas, 3-2. They only got four hits in the whole game.

Brett Gardner continued his amazing power surge by leading off the game with a HR (14) for the second night in a row. He has four HR in the last three games.

Hiroki Kuroda had a bad first inning. Although he didn’t give up any runs the rest of the way, the three he gave up in the first inning doomed him.

Kuroda went 7, 3 R, 9 H, 1 walk and 4 K. He falls to 7-7, 3.98.

David Huff pitched the eighth. 1 IP, 0 R, 0 H, 2 walks, 0 K. Overall ERA 3.95.

Jacoby Ellsbury hit a HR in the third (9) to cut it to 3-2, but other than the two solo HRs, the only other hits the Yanks got all night were two hits by Beltran.

The Yanks fall to 55-52, and are now 5 1/2 back of Baltimore in the AL East. Third place. They are now 3 games behind Toronto for the second wild-card spot.

I don’t know if the Yanks will make a deal. Some OF names discussed have been Marlon Byrd (36, .270-20-60 for PHI, his HR and RBI would lead the Yanks, OPS+ 120) and Josh Willingham (35, .223-11-31, OPS+ 124 for MIN in 59 games). Compare those Righty-hitting outfielders with Ichiro (40, .269-1-14, OPS+ 80, and only 8 of Ichiro’s 63 hits are for extra bases. In his last 36 games, Ichiro is hitting .214). If they do get a Righty-power bat to play RF, he could take Almonte’s spot.

I still don’t know why Jose Pirela and/or Robert Refsnyder haven’t been promoted. Maybe some youth can inject some energy (and some much needed more production) into the lineup. Some comparisons.

Roberts 36 .237-5-21 OPS .659 OPS+ 85
Kelly Johnson (on 15-day DL) 32 .219-6-22 OPS .677 OPS+ 89

Refsnyder 23, 2B/RF, total AA/AAA .323-13-50 OPS .919
Pirela 24, has played 1B/2B/SS/LF and RF this year. All AAA. .309-8-43 OPS .784

Of course, replacing Roberts/Johnson with Refsnyder/Pirela at 2B/UT may mean eating $$$. But Roberts/Johnson a) aren’t producing much and b) aren’t your future.

Note that Zellous Wheeler isn’t affected by the moves.

Maybe the Yanks can catch lightning in a bottle if they do pick up a Byrd or Willingham and combine that with Roberts/Johnson being replaced by Refsnyder/Pirela. Maybe not.

But the Yanks came thisclose to being swept in Texas. They are losing so many close games because of the offense. It couldn’t hurt to try what I am suggesting, could it?

Just my opinion.

Game 105. Jeter passes Yaz but Yanks lose, 4-2.

Brett Gardner hit two solo HRs, and Derek Jeter passed Carl Yastrzemski for 7th place on the all-time hits list, but the Yanks lost to Texas Monday night, 4-2.

The loss knocks the Yanks down to 54-51, 4 1/2 behind the Orioles in the AL East. They are in third place, two behind the second-place Blue Jays. The Blue Jays hold the second wild-card spot as of now.

Gardner’s 2 HR gave him 12 for the season, by far the most he’s had in a year. Can you believe he is tied with Beltran for second on the team in HR and leads the team in OPS?

Jeter’s three hits gave him 3420 for his career, one ahead of Yaz. He is now just 10 hits short of Honus Wagner for sixth on the all-time hits list.

Unfortunately for the Yanks, despite 11 hits, six by Gardner and Jeter, they couldn’t score outside of Gardner’s two solo blasts.

David Phelps pitched well, but lost it in the fifth, when he gave up all four of Texas’ runs. I have to question some thinking here.

With two out, the score tied, and the bases loaded, Phelps threw three straight fastballs to Arencibia, a .150 hitter. On an 0-2 pitch, Arencibia laced a two-run single—on the third straight fastball—for what proved to be the game-winning hit. Why give a good pitch on 0-2 to a .150 hitter? Why not a slider or a curve in the dirt to make him chase? Why didn’t they work on him?

I know… second-guessing. But between that, McCann making some misplays at first (and yes, the front office SHOULD have got someone who is a legit backup 1B instead of throwing inexperienced people like McCann, Cervelli or Johnson out there), Betances giving a run away on an errant pickoff throw Sunday and Robertson not holding the runner on on Sunday, thus enabling that runner to get into scoring position from which he then did score the game-winning run, there has been some bad thinking out there in the last two games that cost the Yankees two games. You can’t do that. Maybe Girardi has to give a wake-up call. You have to play heads-up baseball, and we haven’t seen that in the last three games, which is why the Yanks have lost three in a row.

The Yanks should get Teix back in the lineup today. They brought up Almonte yesterday and DFA’d Jeff Francis.

I’m hoping the Yanks make a deal for a righty-hitting power-hitting RF soon. Ichiro, 40, is starting to show some age and seems to be running out of gas. It was never the Yanks’ intention to play him everyday, but he is. As a result, he is down to .269, and in 36 games since June 15, has been hitting just .214. Playing everyday is wearing him down. He needs to backup/platoon. The Yanks need to find someone at the trade deadline, here.

Phelps 6 IP, 4 R, 8 h, 1 walk and 3 K. He falls to 5-5, 3.89.

Kelley 1 2/3 IP, 0 R, 0 H, 1 walk and 2 hits. 3.51.

Thornton 1/3 IP, 0 R, 0 H, 0 walks and 1 K. 2.66.

Game 103. Yanks lose to Jays, 6-4.

As the song and album states, All Things Must Pass.

After 17 consecutive home wins against the Toronto Blue Jays, the Yankees finally lost at home to them on Saturday, 6-4.

The loss knocks the Yanks back into a virtual second-place tie at 54-49 with Toronto, three games behind the Orioles. Both teams are in a virtual tie for the final wild-card spot, 1/2 a game ahead of Seattle and a game ahead of KC. It looks like a wild (pardon the pun) ride for the last two months.

The Yanks jumped off to a 2-0 lead in the bottom of the fourth on Brian McCann’s 11th HR of the season.

Toronto tied it in the fifth.

Chris Capuano, in his Yankees debut, started and pitched well. 6 IP, 2 R, 5 H, 4 walks and 4 K. His overall ERA (Bos/NYY) goes to 4.30.

Shawn Kelley took the loss for the Yanks, giving up a run in the seventh. He wasn’t helped by the defense, or for that matter, the front office. The Yanks have been playing all year without a legitimate first base backup to Mark Teixeira, and we’ve seen the results when someone other than Teix is at first base, be it Kelly Johnson or yesterday, Brian McCann. McCann helped to botch two plays in the seventh. If he makes the plays, maybe Toronto doesn’t score that inning. We’ve seen Johnson botch a few plays this year, too. Why the team doesn’t get a legitimate backup 1B to the fragile Teix, I don’t know. But the failure to do so could cost a game or two and maybe a playoff spot.

Kelley 1/3 IP, 1 R, 1 H, 1 walk, 1 K. 3.69. (L, 1-3).

Thornton 1 2/3, 0 R, 1 H, 0 walks and 2 K. 2.70.

The game got away from the Yanks in the 9th, when Jeff Francis relieved Chase Whitley with two men on and promptly gave up a 3-run HR to put Toronto up 6-2. Carlos Beltran hit his 12th HR, a two-run shot, to make the final score 6-4. For Beltran, it was career HR #370, tying Gil Hodges on the all-time list.

Whitley 2/3 IP, 2 R, 1 H, 1 walk and 1 K. 4.87.

Francis 1/3 IP, 1 R, 1 H, 0 walks and 1 K. Overall ERA 5.85.

Derek Jeter got two hits and is at 3416, three behind Yaz for seventh all-time.

Chris LeRoux was DFA’d when the Yanks got Capuano. The DFA’d Bruce Billings accepted assignment to SWB.

The Hall-of-Fame has reduced the number of years a player could stay on the ballot from 15 to 10. Some recent Hall-of-Famers who got in on tries 11 to 15 include Duke Snider, Jim Rice, Bert Blyleven, Bob Lemon and Ralph Kiner. I really think this is going to hurt some guys who have been on a few years but who, even though nothing was proven, have steroid accusations against them.